UKIP’s new leader added a repulsive contribution to the debate on antisemitism in the Labour Party. Speaking in an interview on Peston on Sunday, Gerard Batten claimed the row on antisemitism in Labour is happening because it relies on the votes of Muslims.
On his show, Robert Peston asked Batton whether the language he has used about Muslim people is comparable to that which the Nazis used about Jews. He responded by criticising the “ideology” of Islam. And he picked up an earlier point from Peston on antisemitism, stating:
The reason you’ve got this degree of anti-semitism in the Labour Party, in my view, is because it very much depends upon Muslim voters in inner cities. And the Islamic religion is inherently anti-semitic.
.@UKIP leader @GerardBattenMEP claims there are degrees of anti-semitism in the Labour party because it “depends on the Muslim vote in inner cities and the Islamic religion is inherently anti semitic”. #Peston pic.twitter.com/rBd8YvolEr
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) April 29, 2018
The claim faced extensive criticism on Twitter. One user branded UKIP and its leader “disgusting”:
"Islam is an inherently anti-Semitic religion" and Labour is being anti-semitic in order to appeal to Muslim voters. Wow. Batten and UKIP are disgusting. #peston
— Kate Little (@katelittle) April 29, 2018
Others argued the programme failed to challenge Batten on his views:
If you must have racists on your programme, @Peston then it's your duty to ensure there is sufficient time to robustly challenge their hateful rhetoric. You've just allowed the last word to be that Islam, as a religion, is antisemitic! shameful and harmful! #Peston
— Holly (@holski_beat) April 29, 2018
Not the first time
This isn’t the first time Batten has made questionable statements on Islam. He previously referred to the religion as a “death cult”.
The more Muslims you have in a population, the more Islam you will get. And the more Islam you have, the more terrorism you will get.
A spokesperson for the anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate told The Guardian Batten is “an Islamophobe and conspiracy theorist”. They stated:
His extreme comments, while shocking, are not surprising. His obsessions with Islam go way beyond the pale and are both hugely offensive as well as potentially dangerous.
The strategy isn’t working
Since the EU referendum in 2016, UKIP has been in crisis. Gerard Batten is the party’s fourth leader in less than two years. The last leader, Henry Bolton was sacked by members over racist texts sent by his girlfriend.
But with the latest UKIP leader holding controversial and ludicrous view like this, no wonder his party is falling into complete irrelevance.
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Featured image via screengrab